Well we’re half way through December and it seems that the silly season is in full flight for most of my friends and clients. Christmas is so much more than just one day these days…it seems to start around the first week of December and finish some time after New Years Eve – that’s nearly a month!! If you’re conscious of your health, your weight and your general wellbeing Christmas can be a really challenging time. There’s tons of socialising with loads of rich food and of course waaay more booze than normal. So how can you get through this festive season and still look and feel good? Here are some of my tips on maintaining your health over the silly season.
1. Keep moving
It’s easy to get super busy during this festive season and decide to leave exercise to the new year. Unfortunately this is the absolute best time to keep moving your body, even if it’s as simple as a daily walk, exercise will contribute towards the detoxification process, ensuring all of the body’s pumps are functioning effectively.
2. Drink moderately
Alcohol is “empty calories” which not only disturbs how we metabolise sugar and fat but also reduces our ability to make wise decisions in relation to food. The less you drink, the less likely you are to reach for the high fat, high carbs snacks being offered. Alcohol will also affect your blood sugar handling for the following 24 hours, making it harder for you to make the right choice the following day in relation to your nutrition. Again, you are more likely to crave sugary fatty foods even if you don’t have a hangover.
3. Wait a few mintues
In group situations, with an abundance of food and drink it’s easy to get caught up eating unconsciously. Whether it’s because you are used to eating more when you are around your siblings or just because there’s so much good food, remember to serve yourself a moderate amount of food to start with. Eating at a slower pace will help to send the satiety signals to your brain. After you’ve finished, if you can, resist the urge to load up your plate and wait for 5-10 minutes to see how you feel. Satiation takes approximately 20 minutes, waiting a few minutes after eating (as well as eating slowly) can help you avoid over eating.
4. Watch the carbs
If you’re going to eat dessert and drink alcohol then it’s a good idea to minimise carbohydrate consumption with the main meal. Alcohol and high sugar foods all increase the secretion of insulin which promotes fat storage in the body. Try to eat mainly lean protein and low starch veges for entree and main, that way you can kick your heels up a little for dessert.
5. Rest, rest, rest.
These days our lives are so frenetic, filled to brim with obligations, commitments and other environmental stressors. The body really doesn’t distinguish between physical stress (like lack of sleep) and emotional stress (like work stress, relationship stress, negative emotions). The human body creates the same reaction to all of these types of stress – production of cortisol which can have many knock on effects to the body including increased inflammation, increased insulin/problematic fat metabolism and decreased immune function. Remember, when you can, to let your body rest, get adequate amounts of sleep and take time out to enjoy the break from work.
6. Have Fun!
Christmas is a time to come together with loved ones and family and celebrate. Smiling and laughing reduce the level of stress hormones like cortisol and epinephrine. Studies have shown laughter even increases the number of antibody – producing cells and improves the function of T cells, resulting in a stronger immune system. So enjoy the fun and festivities as much as possible, your body will thank you for it!
Merry Christmas!! xx